In an era when the spark of human creativity is needed more than ever, schools across the country have been experiencing unprecedented budget cuts for arts programs in the past three decades. Yet the long held taboo of the arts being nonessential is gradually fading as new discoveries in brain research and cognitive development reveal art programs to be more of a necessity than mere pleasantry. A 2009 study showed that kids who are engaged in art programs scored 91 points higher than peers who did not participate in these programs. Students who partake in art classes are also three times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement.
Enter Everyartist.me, a movement that “fosters creativity by nurturing and celebrating the artist in every child. They do this by engaging children to make art and provide tools for children, parents, and teachers to help sustain and fuel that creativity.”
In April of 2012, Everyartist.me set the world record when they had 8,416 elementary school students fill a football field with their art. The astonishing results from that day were only the beginning. In November 2013, Everyartist.me plans to democratize the creative experience for kids everywhere by creating a national, collaborative art event that engages elementary school children across the United States. The scale of the event will make it the largest art event in history.
The ambitious brainchild of artist Brendan O’Connell, Everyartist.me was conceived by the man dubbed “Walmart’s Warhol” and some like-minded partners. Brendan was fortunate enough to grow up in a support system that fostered his creativity, despite being told at a young age that he wasn’t good at art. Brendan has vowed to curtail this discouragement from happening to other kids.
Brendan has become a quintessential American painter who explores the everyday through contemporary art. His now famous “Walmart Series” depicts the emblems of mass consumerism through the lens of contemporary painting. After being kicked out of more Walmarts than most Americans have stepped foot in, he was offered a reprieve by the corporation after he was featured on NPR. The adamant artist has since been featured in the recent anniversary issue of the New Yorker and CBS Sunday Morning, and is set to appear on The Colbert Report in March to promote Everyartist.me.
The organization is also receiving support from a handful of celebrities, including Alec Baldwin, whose conversation with Brendan about the Walmart Series can be found here.
Everyartist.me has launched a kickstarter campaign and is seeking funds to make these ambitious dreams a reality. The mission statement on the Everyartist.me website declares that “Children initiate their creative thinking abilities before they develop reading, writing or arithmetic skills. It is this creativity, comfort and connection with the visual world, that drives innovation in everything they do. It is too critical to leave a child’s creative sense to atrophy when they start on the path of their academic life. It drives the other subjects. It is what moves them to new ideas and advancements.”
Will you help spark creativity in minds of America’s next generation?
RYOT NOTE: We absolutely love the way Everyartist.me is encouraging kids to indulge in their creative instincts. If you do too, you can become part of this story by pledging your support to a Kickstarter campaign aiming to launch the largest art event in history, with the intention of engaging millions of elementary school children across the country. Show your support by pledging today, or by sharing this story.